Family physician in Canada

A decisive choice for Immigrants.

Translated by Loretta Murphy

Brandão’s practice is in Toronto, after completing his post-doctorate and residency training.

When Brazilians immigrate to Canada, in addition to the challenges of adaptation in terms of culture, language and the job market, an area of great concern is health. After all, you can’t play around with health, and many Brazilians have many questions when they require Canadian medical services. Unlike the Brazilian system, where patients have more options, especially in the private sector, here the system is more bureaucratic. Ricardo Brandão, one of the few Brazilian professionals working in Canada as a family physician, talked to the Wave about it.

Wave: First tell us your Canadian immigration story?
Dr. Brandão: I came here for a very personal reason, involving my wife. I arrived in 2010, I did a post-doctorate course, and worked at the University of Toronto. I was aware that I would need to take the exams and possibly do a residency in order to be able to work as a Clinical Doctor here. It took me five years to start working as a family physician here in Canada.

Wave: Many Brazilians who immigrate here are generally unaware of the health system. Do you believe that the family physician’s role is really as essential as the health system here in Canada makes us believe?
Dr. Brandão: It is very important and I would say that throughout the world, it is generally established that the best healthcare is through a family physician. It is a method that renders more results in terms of health, and costs less for the population in general. I think it’s a great way to take care of patients.

Wave: How do you advise Brazilians coming or already living here to  adapt to this system more easily?
Dr. Brandão: It’s a challenge, like any other. I think that you have to have confidence in your family physician even more than in the system. From the moment you meet the family physician who provides the answers you need, you will create a relationship with this professional and develop trust in the system.

Wave: And have you been highly sought after by the community? Are you accepting new patients?
Dr. Brandão: I have been highly sought after. I was amazed! I didn’t think this would happen. I thought, of course there would be some Brazilians, but many came even from cities outside of Toronto, naturally seeking communication in Portuguese, or more than just language, perhaps even the culture, obviously because we understand each other better. The demand was so great that I stopped accepting new patients. Possibly at the beginning of the new year, I’ll be able to take in a small number of new patients. But for the time being, I have reached a number where I’ll start to find it difficult to see my current patients if I continue accepting new ones.